So much for those who predicted a Bruins sweep. And a bit of a difference from March 24th when Montreal was clobbered 7-0 in Boston, as Thursday night the Canadiens played a tough, tight, smart game and skated away with a tremendous 2-0 win to open their 2011 playoffs.
Carey Price was unshakeable, stopping all 31 shots and making it look like a Sunday picnic all the while. He looked poised and confident throughout, and even tossed in the odd smile and wink along the way.
Brian Gionta opened the scoring early in the first, and closed it late in the third, with both goals coming from great work by Scott Gomez. Don Cherry said afterward that Gomez was outstanding and I agree. Gomez was a force, made smart plays, and if he keeps this up, Habs fans everywhere, including myself, will forget in many ways the dismal regular season he had. Keep it up, Scott. Make us eat our words. I’ll have no problem embracing Gomez if he contributes in a big way now.
Forgiving and forgetting gets me into heaven, doesn’t it?
Speaking of forces, Tomas Plekanec played his best game in maybe months as he skated miles, enjoyed several great scoring chances, checked hard, and maybe most impressive of all, threw his body in front of a Zdeno Chara blast on an extremely dangerous looking play, looking like Guy Carbonneau while doing so, and taking his life in his hands. Anyone willing to sacrifice like that for the team is a special player.
All this is what the Habs need to send Boston packing in the end. The skill guys rising to the top like tonight, scoring, creating chances, and hurtling themselves in front of cannon shots for the good of the team. And of course, Price imitating a brick wall.
So many guys had fine nights, and who can ask for anything more? Subban, Wiz, Kostitsyn – maybe everyone. What a night to put it together. Although there were several occasions when Boston poured it on. But that was when Price came to the rescue.
I mentioned to a couple of people today who sort of looked interested in a faraway sort of way that it would be excellent if Montreal could get that first goal. And Gionta came through. And in a some brief daydreaming while at work, I tried to imagine a win on this night. What a great feeling that would be if it happened.
It did happen. And it is a great feeling.
Now we need more of the same on Saturday.
And one last special mention goes out to Zdeno Charo, who, with his team down 2-0 and Boston looking to turn up the heat, took a silly penalty for mugging Pleks, therefore ruining his teams plans for a comeback for all intents and purposes. Thank you, Zdeno. Habs fans everywhere salute you.
I said the other day that it would be nice if a few of Chara’s shots would break ankles of his teammates standing in front of the net. I take it back. The irony gods got me as both Kostitysn and Travis Moen got smacked by the big guy’s shot. Lesson learned.